Spring — a time for rebirth and death

It’s getting to be that time of year that I like to call “Floricide”.  What is “Floricide” you ask?  Why it’s the art/act of planting lovely flowers only to let them die a miserable painful death.  It’s a yearly tradition in our house.  It’s like a rite of passage into the ridiculous asphalt-melting season known as summer.

Each year, I get excited that it’s getting warmer.  I seem to have a moment of temporary insanity where I forget what comes after the pleasant warm up.  I think this is similar to women who seem to forget the insanity of 48 hours of labor where all they did was scream homicidal curses at anyone nearby – all the while pushing out a baby the size of a bowling ball.  They remember the horror for about a year or so, and then they start attempting to get pregnant again – all the while I’m saying “oh my God, no.  I remember what that was like the first time.  It was horrible, there was blood and banshee-like screeching.  Why on earth would you do that again?”.  But the pregnant women don’t seem to remember or care.  Much like me with plants.

Each spring I take a glorious trip to Home Depot to buy lovely plants for the pots that we have on our front porch.  Pots, that do not have an automatic watering system, by the way.  I pick a color scheme and find plants that will get bushy, some that will get tall, and some that will drape gracefully from their container.  The vision in my head is beautiful.  It’s epic.  There are butterflies and birds and a freaking visit from Bambi in my vision.  It’s A-MAZ-ING.  I joyfully load my treasures into my car and drive them home.

That’s where things start to take a turn for the worse.  I unload the plants, who are likely thinking “woohoo, we got out of that store and are going home with the happiest plant lover in the world!  We are rock stars!”.  I think they may even be giving each other little plant high-fives.  Though it would be difficult, since they don’t actually have hands or arms.  But they are doing it.  Even if they are only just thinking about it, I think it still counts.

So I unload the exuberant plants and begin the process of planting them.  It starts out well enough.  I put fresh soil in the planters (mainly because I hate bugs and am always paranoid about what is living in the remains of last years Floricide vessel) and begin planting the flowers.  The first pot is beautiful – well planned, lots of textures and color.  While still small, the plants are deserving of an upcoming cover of “House Beautiful” of something like that.  They are awesome.  The second pot is nice.  I’m getting tired and hot by now and the planning is slowly going out the window.  By the last pot I’m just throwing dirt and plants together in a pot and muttering “you’re a plant.  Fend for yourself”.  Then I spray the whole thing down with water and go inside and lay down with a cold beverage.

Things get better for awhile.  I water the plants religiously and I talk to them and congratulate them (even the sad ones in the last pot) for surviving and getting an opportunity to live with me.  It’s false hope that I’m spreading.  I know that now, but at the time – at the time of temporary insanity/amnesia – I think I actually believe the lies I am spewing at the defenseless petunias.

Then it gets hot.  I don’t feel like standing outside with a hose for 20 minutes watering plants.  So I start only watering them every other day.  And as it gets hotter, the watering sessions last a shorter and shorter amount of time, until finally I go outside and just glance at the hose that is laying forlornly beside the wilting (and likely whimpering) plants and that’s enough.  That glance serves as the death knell for petunias everywhere.  From that point forward no one gets water unless it comes from the sky.  Within a week or so, the plants are dead.  A week or so later and they are crispy little reminders of dreams that had been.

So, as you get ready for your weekend – perhaps doing some spring cleaning or planting remember me.  I’ll be heading to Home Depot soon, and the plants had better be ready.  It’s time for spring.

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